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‘Foreign Department Notes. Arms Traffic in the Persian Gulf.’ [‎4v] (8/22)

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The record is made up of 1 file (11 folios). It was created in 1909. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.

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6
of oar programme which deals with the power of searching suspected vessels, it will be neces
sary to adopt the compromise, however, unsatisfactory in itself, embodied in the Italian
“ conciliatory formula,” and his Government is therefore, he says, very anxious that we should
support it, if only as a pis aller, at Berlin, and induce the German Delegates to do so.
You are aware from my despatch No. 46 that 1 thinlt there is a good deal to be said for this
contention.
6. The main question, however, which His Majesty’s Government will have to consider,
and as to which you will doubtless now instruct me, is that of the general line to be adopted by
us at the Conference, in presence of the failure of our Maskat negotiations with the Irench.
7. There are two obvious alternative courses. One is to take the line that the Irench
refusal to make anv concessions to us in respect of the arms traffic at Maskat, or of the exten
sion of the zone of prohibition to Asia, makes the rest of the programme so valueless that we see
no utility in continuing to discuss it. The other is to sacrifice the Maskat part of the pro
gramme, and in return for this sacrifice to get all the other concessions we can, including, if
possible, the extension of the zone to the whole of the Arabian coast as far east as the southern
limit of Oman, exclusive, of course, of the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. .
8. There appears to me a good deal to be said for both these courses, and my Italian
colleague, whose Government’s interests in the Red Sea and on the Somali Coast are greater
and more immediate than they are in the Gulf of Oman, is, I can see, strongly in favour of
the latter one. He believes that the proposed limitation of the tonnage of vessels engaged in
the arms traffic would deal it a very substantial blow, and that we might possibly, in return
for the abandonment of our demands respecting Maskat, obtain valuable concessions in regard
to Jibuti. He also thinks that there is no prospect that the Powers less directly interested than
ourselves will sign the draft Additional Act as it stands, so long as the French refuse to do so,
as the Germans, who have now got their Forest Zone Agreement, which was what they were
most bent on, will be glad of the opportunity of obliging the French at the expense of Great
Britain and Italy, while the secondary States, as well as those more important ones who have
no direct interests at stake in the Asiatic side of the question, will take the line that although
they entertain no objections to our proposals in themselves, they see no reason why they
sh-mld adopt them, and thus assume obligations which are not accepted by all the Powers. We
shall therefore merely have the very barren and Pyrrhic satisfaction of having placed the
French in a somewhat odious light, as preferring selfish objects of a peculiarly petty and
sordid character to the wider interests of all civilized communities.
9. On the other hand, an acceptance by us of a mutilated Additional Act would deprive
us for an indefir ite period of all freedom to take any steps of our own for dealing in a more
drastic manner with the arms traffic in Arabia, by giving to the Sultan of Maskat, for example,
an increased subsidy in return for his adoption (without violating the letter of his Treaty with
the French) of such police measures as we might consider necessary for preventing the
re-exportation of arms to the territories of any Power prohibiting their import, or for himself
prohibiting their purchase, save under stringent guarantees, by persons subject to his
jurisdiction.
10. An intermediate solution might, perhaps, consist in an effort at the Conference to see
what concessions short of the stoppage of the traffic in Oman we could obtain from the French,
and in only letting them break it up, and thus restore to us our freedom of action if we found
that they refused to make any of sufficient value.
11. As King Leopold is giving a garden party at Laeken on the 17th, the first meeting
of the Conference can only take place on the 18th instant.
I have, &c.,
Arthur H. Hardinge.
Letter from R. E. Holland, Esq., Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. , Maseat, No. 2C04 K., dated the 5th
(received 6th) July 1909.
Format (Is a copy of a letter witch he has addressed to the Political Jlesident in the Petstan
Gulf on the subject of the illicit traffic in arms.
The case is well stated in Mr. Reynolds’ note, dated the 29th June. We had a conference
at the Foreign Office on the 3rd July at which Sir G. Roos-Ktppel, Mr. Merk, Colonel
Malleson and Mr. Holland ( Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Maskat) were present Yesterday’s mail
brought a despatch from Sir A. Hardinge to Sir E. Grey, dated 3rd May, which I place in the
file.
There was never, I think, any real prospect of an agreement with France, for the bulk of
the arms trade is in the hands of Belgians and Belgian financiers rule at Paris. The alternative
courses of action described by Sir A. Hardinge, viz., (a) to sulk and (b) to take the crumbs
gladly, trying to extend the zone of prohibition along the Arabian coast as far as the South of
Oman, need not be considered here.

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Printed copies of correspondence and memoranda relating to the arms traffic in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. :

  • a letter from Leonard William Reynolds of the Government of India, dated 29 June 1909 (ff 2-3)
  • a confidential letter from the British Minister to Belgium, Arthur Henry Hardinge, to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Edward Grey, dated 3 May 1909 (f 4)
  • a letter from the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Maskat [Muscat], Robert Erskine Holland, dated 5 July 1909 (ff 4-5)
  • a memorandum written by Wilfrid Malleson of the Intelligence Branch, Indian Army Headquarters, dated 10 July 1909, also signed by the Officiating Chief of Staff in India, Herbert Mullaly, and the Chief of Staff in India, Beauchamp Duff (ff 6-7)
  • further copies of correspondence signed by Malleson, Mullaly, Duff, and others including the Commander-in-Chief in India, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, and the Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, Spencer Harcourt Butler (ff 8-10)
  • a confidential memorandum written by Robert Erskine Holland, dated 27 June 1909 (f 11)
Extent and format
1 file (11 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the first folio with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 11; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Pagination: this part also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

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English in Latin script
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‘Foreign Department Notes. Arms Traffic in the Persian Gulf.’ [‎4v] (8/22), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/20/289/B, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100049315702.0x000089> [accessed 14 November 2019]

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